The Zafilio village water wheel
During the 1970's there was a vibrant co-operative effort by all rural development agencies in PNG to introduce appropriate technologies into villages.
The Melanesian Council of Churches collected ideas from all sources then published the world-standard "Liklik Buk" a handbook for rural development workers.
Regrettably the momentum generated at that time was not maintained after Independence when both political focus and financial allocations were redirected to urban areas of the country.
Zafilio village is located in the hilly Wareo hinterland of the Finschhafen district, an hours walk beyond the end of a rough 4 wheel drive track winding its way up the mountain from the coast.
Patrilineal societies in PNG often place a disproportionate burden of the physical "work of life" on womenfolk. Food gardening and preparation, child rearing, firewood collection, as well as contributing to a family cash income.
Two of the highest priorities in developing countries, both then and now, should be the provision of equal educational opportunities for girls, and the introduction of technologies to reduce the workload of women.
Coffee pulpers are small hand-powered machines, (at that time manufactured in England,) which are used to remove the thick outer red skin from the coffee bean, before the bean is fermented in water for 3 days to remove a mucilage covering, then dried in the sun prior to being sold as "parchment coffee" to the factories.
We designed and built these very cheap and simple water wheels, then installed them at several sites throughout the Huon Peninsula specifically to power coffee pulpers…..previously an energy sapping task often left to the women.
The Zafilio village waterwheel was installed in March 1976.
When the author returned for a brief visit to PNG in 1998 the one wheel he had an opportunity to revisit (at Tambare) was still operational.
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